> I think I agree IF (note the if) We place everything and everyone in the
> category of "commodity". If I as a human being am considered to be a
> thing that can be bought or sold to the highest bidder, than there is a
> serious flaw in the thinking of the buyer or seller. (or the governing
> body overseeing such a thing).
This is an excellent point. I'm amazed, in the US (and I assume other
countries) how as a society we explicitly value individual freedom, the
right of free speech, and so forth, but a good many people seem to think
when they pass through the doors at work all of these values are suspended
for 8 - 10 hours. People are literally "selling" themselves, their values,
and their ambitions to corporations who treat them as a "human resource."
Talk about demeaning!
One time I took this up with Human Resources: Why do you think I am a
resource? I'm certainly more valuable than a desk, a computer, or a
telephone. I generate large amounts of money for the company, enough that
you could pay for a good many desks, networks, workstations, and health
benefits. Clearly I make more money for the company than the company pays
me. So, why am I a resource? (This reminds of the discussion between Rol
Fessenden and I think Terri Deems about whether people are an "asset" or
"liability". . .either way, it is dehumanizing, IMO.)
A year or so ago I heard the General Manager for AT&T for the Western
Region talk about how they have a majority of their employees working from
their homes. He talked about the role technology played in facilitating
their program, and how virtual meetings could be held across the Internet,
how service could be provided faster as they created service districts
according to where the technicians live. It was interesting, But what I
found much more interesting was his discussion about the "soft" benefits
of having people work from home.
Here's what he said: "Isn't it demoralizing when you have to go to your
manager and ask for time off work to go to the doctor with your spouse?
Doesn't the manager inevitably ask 'What's wrong?' as if you need to
justify the time away from work. Such a structure is not the way to create
a motivated, highly efficient, and competitive work force. When people
work from home, such a structure completely disappears. People regain
their dignity and their self-worth 24 hours a day."
I was stunned. Never before I had heard someone so high in an organization
espouse such a beautiful philosophy. . .and, even more amazing to me, was
the guy actually _felt_ what he was saying. I was so impressed I called
his secretary and set up a private interview with him, so I could explore
more his, and AT&T's, philosophy on the subject.
So, Michael, I think you're right: We should never sell ourselves to our
employer. Nevertheless, I still think there is something invigorating,
challenging, and thrilling about working to achieve a meaningful vision
(in our own lives, and at work) when the infrastructure doesn't punish
self-worth and human dignity.
Benjamin B. Compton ("Ben") | email: firstname.lastname@example.org Novell, GroupWare Support Quality Manager | fax: (801) 222-6991
Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <email@example.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>